Auction Block claim rejected

An administrative law judge has rejected a claim for Kevin Hogan and the Auction Block against the city of Homer, city attorney Thomas Klinkner announced in a memorandum to Mayor Beth Wythe and the Homer City Council at its meeting Monday night.

“We are excited about that,” attorney Holly Wells said at the meeting.

Wells said the city is prepared for an appeal. Hogan, a former city council member, said that on advice of his lawyer he did not want to comment on the decision.

Hogan filed a complaint with the Federal Maritime Commission in April 2012 after resigning from the council. Hogan alleged that the city violate a rule of the federal Shipping Act of 1984 that says a marine terminal may not give an undue or unreasonable preference or advantage to any person.

Hogan said the city treated the Auction Block unfairly by giving a break to Icicle Seafoods on port and harbor fees for Fish Dock crane charges and use of the area. In 1979 the city signed a lease with Icicle. That lease lets Icicle use two cranes for up to 1,858 hours a year and at the rate of $15 an hour above that.

The Auction Block pays higher Fish Dock fees and doesn’t get that break, Hogan alleged in his complaint. The Auction Block paid a difference of about $47,000 compared to Icicle Seafoods, and that if he not been treated differently could have purchased more fish and realized more revenues, Hogan alleged. He sought damages of $680,000 plus interest and attorney’s fees.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.